COLOMBO, Jan 8 – Sri Lankan troops captured more territory from Tamil Tiger rebels in the northern Jaffna peninsula Thursday, a day after the government re-imposed a formal ban on the guerrillas, officials said.,
Troops moved their front lines further south to Pallai, a key Tiger position on the peninsula after heavy fighting, military officials said.
"Soldiers have moved down from their original defence lines in Muhamalai and now taken Pallai," a military spokesman said, adding that troops had moved about five kilometres (three miles) from their original positions.
Military officials said government forces were moving to open a key land access to the Jaffna peninsula following the capture of the Tamil Tiger political capital of Kilinochchi last week.
The latest thrust came as war planes bombed two boats anchored in the Chundikulam lagoon to supply Tamil Tiger guerrillas in the Jaffna peninsula, the spokesman said.
There were no immediate reports of casualties and the guerrillas made no comment.
The attacks came barely a day after the government brought back the ban on the Tigers that was originally lifted in September 2002 to clear the way for Norwegian-brokered peace talks with the guerrillas.
The Tigers have vowed to hit back after suffering a series of major defeats in their vicious 37-year battle for a separate homeland that has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people.
News of the rebel losses comes as the editor of an anti-government Sri Lankan newspaper was shot and badly wounded on Thursday as he drove to work near the capital Colombo, a colleague and a doctor said.